Arkansas Greens Will Sue Over Definition of “Political Party”

Posted by Richard Winger at Ballot Access News

The Arkansas Green Party held a statewide meeting July 18-19 and decided to sue the state over its definition of “political party”. The party was removed from the ballot in November 2008 because it polled under 3% for president. However, it polled over 20% for U.S. Senate, and its three U.S. House candidates averaged over 19%.

The Green Party of Arkansas is the first party, in any state, since the beginning of ballot access laws in 1889, to have ever elected a state legislator while the state was simultaneously removing it from the ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said repeatedly that the purpose of ballot access laws is to keep candidates and parties off the ballot if those candidate or parties lack a modicum of support. “Modicum” is defined to be “a small amount.” It is absurd for Arkansas, or any state, to say that a party that just elected a state legislator, and polled over 20% of the statewide vote, lacks a modicum of support.

There have been very few federal precedents over any state’s definition of “political party.”

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